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Moller L.B.,Center for Applied Human Genetics
Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology | Year: 2015

Mutations in ATP7A lead to at least three allelic disorders: Menkes disease (MD), Occipital horn syndrome and X-linked distal motor neuropathy. These disorders are mainly seen in male individuals, but a few affected females have been described. More than 400 different mutations have been identified in the ATP7A gene. We have conducted several studies in the hope of uncovering the relationship between genotype and phenotype. We have examined the X-inactivation pattern in affected females, the effect of exon-deletions and-duplications, and splice-site mutations on the composition and amount of ATP7A transcript, and we have examined the structural location of missense mutations. The X-inactivation pattern did not fully explain the manifestation of MD in a small fraction of carriers. Most of the affected females had preferential inactivation of the X-chromosome with the normal ATP7A gene, but a few individuals exhibited preferential inactivation of the X-chromosome with the mutated ATP7A gene. The observed mild phenotype in some patients with mutations that effect the composition of the ATP7A transcript, seems to be explained by the presence of a small amount of normal ATP7A transcript. The location of missense mutations on structural models of the ATP7A protein suggests that affected conserved residues generally lead to a severe phenotype. The ATP7A protein traffics within the cells. At low copper levels, ATP7A locates to the Trans-Golgi Network (TGN) to load cuproenzymes with copper, whereas at higher concentrations, ATP7A shifts to the post-Golgi compartments or to the plasma membrane to export copper out of the cell. Impaired copper-regulation trafficking has been observed for ATP7A mutants, but its impact on the clinical outcome is not clear. The major problem in patients with MD seems to be insufficient amounts of copper in the brain. In fact, prenatal treatment of mottled mice as a model for human MD with a combination of chelator and copper, produces a slight increase in copper levels in the brain which perhaps leads to longer survival and more active behavior. In conclusion, small amounts of copper at the right location seem to relieve the symptoms. © 2014 Elsevier GmbH.


Moller L.B.,Center for Applied Human Genetics | Rea G.,Northern Ireland Regional Genetics Service | Yasmeen S.,Center for Applied Human Genetics | Skjorringe T.,Center for Applied Human Genetics | And 3 more authors.
Molecular Genetics and Metabolism | Year: 2013

We present a case of classical Menkes disease (MD) due to a novel "silent" substitution in the ATP7A gene; c.2781G>A (p.K927K). The affected nucleotide is the last nucleotide in exon 13, and affects mRNA splicing. Transcripts missing exon 13; and transcripts missing exons 11, 12 and 13 in addition to a very small amount of normal spliced ATP7A transcripts were expressed. This is the first report of a synonymous ATP7A substitution being responsible for MD. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

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